I want to start a small pizza business in an ice cream truck. Just like how the catering trucks do it by going to business’s and making food I would do the same thing but making pizza. I found an ice cream truck that is fitted with outlets and a new SS table, it has a freeze but I don’t think I will need it because I wont be freezing anything I use. I think it is a pretty good idea because when I was going to a vocational college Papa Gino’s would come and set up a tables with 40 boxes of pizza and sell every single one. The slices were small and they would sell each one for $2.25 for cheese and $2.50 for a roni, with six slices to a box they would make $570 a day not counting the drinks,chips, and cookies they sold. I wanted to get the truck, put in a counter top oven that can make 2 pies at a time and selling them there. I have a whole plan on how I would do it but it would take to long to write up so I am just giving a very short plan. The question I have is what permits or licenses’ would I need to run that kind of an operation and where would I have to go to get them?
You will need to check with City Hall to get an accurate answer to this question. The things that come to mind are the health department and a business license.
You might want to get in touch with the guys at http://streetza.com/. I think you will find that it isn’t as simple as just driving up to a location and selling pizzas. I have read horror stories about how street vendors with food trucks in places like NYC compete for spots and end up in fights and disputes (including lawsuits) over location.
When the trucks get a location to sell food do they have to pay the people to sell there?
Depends on the location…I have a client with a hot dog stand at a chain store…Sells about C$800.00 in 7 hours most days and pays C$35.00 cash each day for space, power, water and storage space so he does not have to drive his rig home every night…
PS…And makes enough money to spend winters in Vietnam…
Before we rolled out about a year ago, we spent over a year researching all of the questions we had. Only to find out that there was about 200 additional things we hadn’t even thought of. Between Steve and I, we had 7 years of restaurant experience (pastry chef) and 10 years of pizzeria experience (kitchen manager and gm). So, one would think we would have had a pretty good grasp on said questions.
Licenses are one of the first concerns. Then there is the board of health. In most states you won’t be able to handle raw product with only a truck. We have a 3500 square foot home base where we make all of our dough and prep everything. Then there’s the department of transportation. You can’t simply mount a generator on the back of a step-van. We had about 7 visits to the DOT while we were building the Streetza truck. The next concern is insurance. It took us about a year to find someone to underwrite us. And it’s not cheap. Which is understandable. We can do all of the damage that a normal restaurant can do, plus all of the potential problems getting to the location, with a 100 lb propane tank.
And in response to one of the other comments. Our first night out, we faced opposition from every brick and mortar bar, restaurant and store we tried to park in front of. And then they called the Aldermen. Most city government does not care for street vendors. Which I can’t blame them in regards to. In many cases we are parked outside a location paying $50K+ a year in property taxes. Now that we’re popular and attract lots of people wherever we stop, we are not only welcomed, in some cases businesses pay us to sit outside of their stores.
The morale of the story. The easiest part of the equation is the truck. Feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to talk offline.
Great Post Streeza. I wanted to do the same thing, to sell to college students in the bar area. I actually found it cheaper and easier to open a second small store than go the truck route. Most smaller cities don’t like this, as it takes away from property taxes and keeps places from being rented.
I’m looking into this as well. I spoke with my local health dept. and they had great advice. I’m looking to cater to the down town lunch crowd and they made me aware of the fact you can’t park this type of vehicle on the street. It has to be on a private lot. They also said to contact the local police dept. and fire dept. and make them aware of the operation to make sure there’s no requirements they need you to meet.We have a handful of non pizza food trucks here and they’re not using private lots so I’m willing to bet there’s not too much enforcing of this. $570 seems like good money for a short days work but don’t forget to subtract food and operating cost from that number.I too am finding the truck is the easiest part of the business but still challenging. Don’t let the challenges kill the dream!
Also, if you are located near the state line, if you cross the state line to sell product in another state, you’re going to need to be licensed in that state too. I was once licensed in three states because we did festivals/carnivals, and private events. We never rolled up onto a street corner and started selling product. You’re going to find that your season of operation is somewhat limited too, at least we did. Due to our type of business, we went dead in the winter and early spring months (Chicago, Illinois).
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Good point Tom.
Actually in most cases, you need an individual permit / license / board of heath inspection from each city and yet another one for each county. Festivals and carnivals by nature most often integrate a city temporary permit into their fees. And if you cross state lines, you’ll also need a new resale certificate, sales tax id #, and about 214 other things.
And the most important thing is the marketing. Up until a year ago, people were pretty leery of food trucks. As demonstrated by the term “roach-coach”. With gourmet trucks becoming more commonplace in major markets it’s less of an issue, but without a solid brand you may well end up throwing away as much product as you sell.